There’s so much stigma around sugar. And for good reason. We eat way too much of the sweet stuff. But what if you want to eat healthier without having to break-up with that which you love? How about choosing natural and healthy sugar options for your treats.
I’m talking about sugars that come from whole foods. They’re minimally processed. And they may even offer some nutritional value in the form of vitamins, and minerals.
Look, sugar is always sugar. You never want to eat too much. But life is short. And your want it to be sweet. And that’s why these natural, healthy options allow you to have your cake and eat it too!
Why do I say raw? Because any other form of honey is significantly more processed . Pasteurization helps kill contaminants. But the downside is that the heat changes the nutritional value.
Keep in mind that once your process something, it may not be pure anymore. Companies may add fillers. Or cheap honey may contain added sugars.
Dates are a form of dried fruit. Which is a more natural and healthy form of sugar. You can eat dates whole. You can turn them into treats like date/peanut butter balls. Or you can use date paste or syrup in some of your favorite recipes.
Dried fruit isn’t as good for you as fresh fruit. It allows you to eat a whole lot of sugar very quickly. But when you’re looking for a substitute for table sugar, this is definitely a more natural and healthy way to go.
The best type of molasses to get is blackstrap molasses. You make it from the leftover product when sugar is extracted from sugar cane. It is a less processed product. So it keeps much more of sugar’s natural nutrients.
Molasses is still sugar. But since it is less refined, it’s digested more slowly. That means it will create less of a blood sugar rush when eaten. And that’s better for your health, as well as your waistline.
Blackstrap molasses is relatively high in nutrition. It contains iron, vitamin B-6, magnesium, and calcium among other nutrients. This is a more natural and healthy sugar and a good choice to be eaten in moderation.
Coconut sugar is made from the natural sap in coconuts. The sap is placed under heat until the water evaporates. And that results in what is known as coconut sugar.
But it’s real claim to fame is that it may have less of an impact on blood sugar than regular sugar. Meaning that it’s digested slowly. And it causes only a moderate spike to blood sugar levels.
Coconut sugar also contains some nutritional value as well. Of course, it isn’t nearlyas healthy as eating a whole coconut. But it isn’t 100% empty calories like table sugar.
But keep this in mind – you don’t want to overdo it. Health food stores are filled with healthier sounding products overflowing with coconut sugar. Pick and choose when you want to indulge. Coconut sugar is healthier and more natural. But it isn’t ‘free’.
Maple syrup, like coconut, is made from sap. This time it’s the sap from, obviously, maple trees. And like coconut sugar, heat evaporates water and creates the product that we know as maple syrup.
But buyer beware. Make sure you’re distinguishing between maple flavored pancake syrup, and pure maple syrup. Because maple flavored pancake syrup doesn’t have to contain any real maple syrup. They’re not the same thing!
And it doesn’t matter what grade of syrup you buy. The grading system is just to differentiate flavor, not health benefits. But get it from a reputable brand and not the dollar store. Because you want to make sure the company isn’t sneaking in any fillers or table sugar.
So there you go. Just remember – simply because a sugar is better for you, doesn’t mean you can eat it with abandon. Even with whole fruit, moderation is the key to health! But sugar can make life, oh so sweet! Which is why these sugars are the way to indulge more healthfully.
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